Ten-Second Takeaway

People’s Free Reading and Library is a public library in SoBo – full of vibrant literature, novels, biographies and more from the British era – housed in an old, impressive Victorian building.

Classics, Biographies & Modern Literature

People’s Free Reading Room and Library is located opposite Big Metro Cinemas. It’s been in existence since 1845 but it was renamed in 1891. Set up by Damodur Gordhandas Sookhdwala at Dhobi Talao, this library now stacks all sorts of genres, ranging from classics to European philosophy – and of course, the old collections of magazines, novels and newspapers during the British era.

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The library houses two floors, with the ground floor offering reading rooms which are often crowded with students and members alike. For joining the ‘Student Corner’ the fee is INR 200 per month, INR 500 For three months and INR 1,000 for six months. For other members {i.e, non-students} the lifetime membership is INR 1,500 out of which the deposit of INR 1,000 is refundable and INR 500 serves as the pass.

The borrowing times are between 9am to 5pm – and the books can be borrowed at 15 days maximum. For reading the magazine, the lifetime charge is of INR 500.

What We Love

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The old British charm, the flowered tiles, and of course, the antique wooden furniture used in the reading rooms and for stacking the books. For novels, the shelves are divided into Indian fiction, foreign fiction, Parsi literature, European philosophy and so much more. There’s even a separate newspaper reading section.

Find copies {old and new} of works by Dan Brown, Emily Bronte, Anthony Burgess, David Baldacci, Oscar Wilde and Irving Wallace among the wide variety here. They also have Time magazine, newspapers and biographies, that you can borrow and read. It’s generally filled with students catching up with their studies. We love this library for its collection of so many genres and the fact that the membership is so affordable and cheap.

So, We’re Saying…

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In the digital age of Kindle, and mobile apps, we are still charmed by public libraries and often find time to go there and catch up on our reading. There’s nothing really like browsing through shelves of books, sitting in a corner quietly reading, or have access to so many books all at once.

Price: Lifetime membership {non-students} INR 1,500 { INR 1,000 is refundable}

Timings: Students {Mon to Fri, 8am to 7pm, Sundays and public holidays, 8am to 6pm}, non-students {Mon to Sat, 9am to 8pm, Sundays and public holidays, 9am to 1pm}, magazine and books reading, 8am to noon.

 Photos: Jayati Bhola/LBB